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Should the Samoa Pulp Mill be Transferred?

Friends and Colleagues:

As you may know Evergreen Pulp, Inc. purchased the old Samoa pulp mill and promised to upgrade and make the operations green.  Instead they ran the plant at as high a capacity as they could, violated their NPDES permit almost daily, then skipped town owing RWQCB a half a million dollars in fines with another half a million pending.  

Evergreen was able to operate under a diluted NPDES permit which included waivers from the EPA.  RWQCB sent the new owners a notice of termination which in part states:

    “Neither Evergreen Pulp, Inc. nor the new owners of the Facility have contacted the Regional Water Board regarding transferring the current WDRs Order R1-2004-0047. Even if such request were made, the Regional Water Board would likely not grant a request for transfer, and would instead notify the new permittee of its intent to modify or revoke and reissue the permit because the permit does not properly reflect many legal requirements, including the California Ocean Plan and effluent limitation guidelines for the production of unbleached kraft pulp. Before the Regional Water Board could modify or revoke and reissue, the new owner would need to submit a report of waste discharge to describe how it intends to operate the Facility.” 

On February 23 the new owners sent the EO of RWQCB a letter requesting transfer. If the EO does not respond within 30 days the transfer becomes automatic. The EO is under political pressure to allow the transfer by taking no action.   Currently staff need community support to overcome these political pressures. The new owner Robert Simpson (yes Simpson Timber) is seeking a “fundamentally different factor” (FDF) variance which will allow the mill to discharge without having to meet technology-based standards for existing sources.  Those sources include dioxin, aldrin, DDT and hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH).  

I’ve attached a number of documents to this email.  Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Please let me know if you have or intend to email or write to Catherine Kuhlman so I can be sure the community has made its interests known. Thanks.    

Please write or email to:

Catherine Kuhlman
Executive Officer
North Coast Water Board
ckuhlman@waterboards.ca.gov 

Please state the importance of the public process. That a transfer of the permit would not be in the public’s or environment’s interest. Request that the Regional Water Board not grant a request for transfer, and instead notify the new permittee of its intent to modify or revoke and reissue the permit because the permit does not properly reflect many legal requirements, including the California Ocean Plan and effluent limitation guidelines for the production of unbleached kraft pulp. Request that the new owner submit a report of waste discharge to describe how it intends to operate the Facility including its process and what chemicals are used. 
     
Please CC Representative Mike Thompson  
HUMBOLDT DISTRICT OFFICE
317 3rd Street, Suite 1
Eureka, CA 95501
Phone: (707) 269-9595
Fax: (707) 269-9598 

Eventually we would all like to see a modern plant that is green and moves away from timber as it sole sorce of fiber.  Other sources are much better including bamboo and hemp.